Friday File, September 4, 2015

We’re now in the phase of the year where the business of cycling takes shape via planning, sales and education forums. Two of the industry’s biggest showcases -Eurobike, recently held in Germany, and Interbike in Las Vegas Sept 14 – 18, 2015 –offer excellent platforms for presenting products, securing product line ups and aligning with strategic partners. The cycling media does a great job of covering the shows and the news so in case you didn’t attend Eurobike yourself, here is a link to some of Velonews’ excellent coverage:
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/08/news/eurobike-liveblog-thursday-august-27_382093

We will also be at Interbike in just a few days. Exhibit preparations are well underway (see pic below), as we are, of course, eager to show off PRECISION to the typically passionate crowd. Watch for us at both Demo Days in Bootleg Canyon, Sept, 14-15 and at the 4iiii booth #28226 in Interbike at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

If trade shows aren’t your thing, then at least #crossishere. Get that running mount dialled in.

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Friday File, August 28, 2015

When we’re not busy building PRECISION power meters and other products, we’re out there pushing our own personal limits too. PRECISION product manager, Emma is racing the Ironman World Championships in Austria this Sunday and we wish her the best of luck.

Sometimes the limits we all push aren’t physical, but psychological. Those of you who ride mountain bikes know that often the limits are all in your head. Here is a brief video clip of Karel from our support team pushing his comfort zone down the local test-piece Razor’s Edge. We’ve added live metrics to the video, so you can see Karel’s heart rate on the left, and his speed and PRECISION power data on the right. As you’d expect, while he’s climbing his heart rate continues to rise and he has to maintain sufficiently high power output to get over the obstacles. The real challenge on Razor’s Edge is the downhill, where his speed goes up. On technical descents, balance and concentration prevent his heart rate from going too low. Gravity is all that’s needed for propulsion and the last thing he wants to do is go faster, so power output is usually zero.

Summer around here is starting to dwindle so enjoy your ride whether road, cross or mountain, and let us know how we can help you push your own limits.

Razor’s Edge, Bow Valley Mountain Biking from 4iiii Innovations on Vimeo.

Friday File, August 21, 2015

It’s a rainy Friday in Cochrane, and clear that, even though it’s still August, fall is in the air here in the northern hemisphere. This means it’s time for lots of Cyclocross, your fav arm warmers, and the excitement of the big bike shows.

If you’re not quite ready to start dusting off the mud tires for cross, you can still get your pro racing fix with The Vuelta a España that’s about to start. There are bound to be some exciting finishes in store.

As for industry shows, our team will be on the ground at Eurobike in Germany next week, excited to see what’s new. Our preparations for Interbike in Vegas are also underway and we’ll be equally keen to participate in this showcase mid September.

PRECISION has taken us to some incredible routes of late, like the epic Whistler trail, Comfortably Numb, and the wild rides above Kaslo, British Columbia. As the seasons change in your part of the world, where are you headed?

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Friday File Aug 14 2015

We’re excited to report that we are through our PRECISION pre-order backlog!  Customers have now either received their PRECISION or they’ve been sent a digital ship kit with instructions for getting cranks into our factory. With our streamlined manufacturing process, anyone placing PRECISION orders now can have power meters installed in our factory and back on their bikes within 2 – 4 weeks.

Friday File, August 7, 2015


Those of you who have been following this blog over the past many months know that its purpose is threefold:

  1. give you updates on 4iiii products,
  2. answer as many of your questions as we can, and
  3. bring you great information from experts, coaches and other athletes.

Most non-update posts have been spurred on by your specific questions as well as your general requests for industry information.  Today, we are particularly inspired by a local cyclist who killed it at a local criterium, attacking 15 laps out and finishing 15 seconds off the front of the Cat 2 field. Meet 23 year old Rob Crane as he shares a great story of how a typical rider put some key training steps in place and became the coveted athlete in the Cat 2 peloton.

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Rob Crane

Age: 23

Racing Stallion: Guru Evolo-R

Profession: BSc in Mechanical Engineering; Masters Student, Cycling Aerodynamics, University of Calgary

Cycling History: Bike racing for 3 full seasons (trained seriously for two of those years)

Why cycling?

During high school I got into running, but I ran so much that I was always injured. After being down for a month due to one particular injury, I decided to switch to cycling because I knew it wouldn’t be as hard on my body. I didn’t immediately love cycling as much as running, but it grew on me and allowed me to be able to go out riding huge numbers of hours without ever getting injured. Admittedly, as a kid, watching the film Breaking Away inspired the competitor in me.

How did you pull off that crit win last weekend at Tour de Bowness?

That was an interesting one! I started the race and didn’t feel so hot – I was having a tough time positioning myself and had some leg fatigue from the previous two days. At one point, I covered some moves for my teammate, Connor Toppings, our GC leader. But at about 30 minutes into the race, there was a strange lull in the pace. I relaxed and recovered for a couple laps, waiting for someone to do something, but no one did. So I decided to attack and see what would happen. I went as hard as I could cause I was in a group of seriously strong riders. I didn’t seriously think it would stay away. Then, with 5 laps to go, I knew I had the win if I didn’t crash.

What’s next?

For me it’s all about pursuing personal improvement. Racing changes my definition of what “hard” feels like and allows me to absorb harder training. I experienced this at the Robert Cameron stage race in Victoria, BC and the Cascade Classic in Bend Oregon. During the races I often think “why I am doing this,” especially in Robert Cameron where my power file showed I rode just below threshold for 3 hours. But like any race, you don’t remember the negatives and you’re pumped to go back and do it again. Next year, I hope to continue pushing the limits and seeing what I can do against higher levels of competition.

Favorite sayings:

“Carb the *#$* up” – Durian Rider

“Bicycle racing is a sport of patience. Racing is licking your opponent’s plate clean before starting on your own.” – Joshua Krabbe

“Running to him was real; the way he did it the realest thing he knew. It was all joy and woe, hard as a diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.”  – John L. Parker Jr.

Training regime:

I ride between 10 and 20 hours per week depending on the season. During winter, I lift weights to work on strength and explosiveness. After a solid few months of strength training interspersed with a bit of intensity I start to add really hard HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) bike workouts to my training load – building to 4 HIIT sessions a week. As the weather improves, longer base miles become a bigger focus, alongside blocks of volume and the harder interval work. Once race season begins we try to identify goal events and structure training around those to maximize performance. Some early season races are treated as “training races” hitting them with quite a bit of fatigue and using them more as training stimulus rather than goal events. If there is a no-race weekend we try to do a really hard training set such as the famous Kitchen Sink workout or hill repeats.

Why train with power?
Training and racing with a power meter has been a game changer for me. Training with power has allowed me to identify my training zones, and adopt a structured approach targeting these zones depending on what type of event I am preparing for. Over the last two seasons I have been working with Jack VanDyk, a cycling and triathlon coach based out of the Talisman Centre in Calgary. Training with power has been an essential piece of equipment, as it allows Jack to prescribe training protocols not possible with any other training metric. It also allows for more “big picture” planning by pairing the power data together with software to determine my current training state. This has been a key factor in planning training around goal events such as the Tour De Bowness, or the Cascade Classic. It also makes training more motivating, because I can actually observe fitness increases in power based testing.

Inspiring riders:

Durian Rider (YouTube celebrity), Phil Gaimon (cycling on $10 a day), local pro Kris Dahl from Calgary, and Ryder Hesjdal to name a few.

Tips for the newbie:

Set some goals and take a structured approach to realizing them. The process of picking an event and doing the best you can to prepare over a 6-12 month time period is very rewarding and more motivating than “just riding”.

Tips for the competitor:

Invest in a power meter and step outside of your comfort zones in workouts and races. Don’t just sit in – try to animate the race or go for something you wouldn’t normally, like attacking from 100k out. Sure, you might crash and burn but you might win too. It’s also more fun than waiting for a bunch sprint …unless you’re a true sprinter, which very few of us are.

Riding quirks:

I try to stay fairly conventional but my coffee addiction is quite extreme. I nearly always drink a coffee before and after riding, and sometimes halfway through as well if it’s a long day. I love the flavour and the caffeine rush

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Friday File, July 31, 2015

Many of you who are new to bike power have had previous experience with heart rate data and have asked us about using both. Clearly, there are merits to having the two data sets so here’s a quick overview.

Heart rate monitors are definitely a huge step up from just riding by feel and the data helps set your training zones. The monitors are easy to use, allow you to set pace and give you a good indicator for how hard you can push. If you have done a number of hard training days in a row, however, you’ll know that getting to a high heart rate is much harder towards the end of the training block than at the beginning.  That’s when a power meter can add valuable perspective.

With power, you get your exertion measurement, instantly. The meter is not subjective to fatigue or illness and gives you a real-time wattage measurement to which you can build your power based training zones. This information can be particularly useful for time trialists and triathletes, who specialize in sustained efforts. Over long intervals, as an example, cardiac drift causes one’s heart rate to increase even though the workload is kept constant.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, sprinters specialize in very short, but intense efforts. Most sprints and sprint-training intervals last only 30 seconds or less, giving a heart rate monitor – and the athlete – little time to react. That’s when knowing your power is helpful.

As Hunter Allen puts it in his blog:

“One of the greatest advantages of training with a power meter is, in my opinion, that a power meter gives you the ability to dial in your desired level of exertion immediately. This is especially true for shorter intervals. The reason is the key difference between power and heart rate: power meters measure the power your body produces, and it can be measured directly and instantaneously, whereas heart rate is an indirect measure and responds to the body’s effort and is thus a delayed measure of exertion.”

In the case of our very own in-house Calgary 70.3 finishers posing below, multiple data points played a key role in getting them through the swim, the ride and the run. After that, it was all true grit!

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Friday File, July 24, 2015

It’s a great week to quickly talk about our app update, the peloton heading to Paris and some fav cycling routes.

To accompany last week’s firmware 0.2.0 release, the 4iiii mobile apps for both Android and iOS have also been upgraded. Most relevant to you is the fact that the menu now offers a link to both PRECISION’s current calibration values as well as the initial values calibrated in factory. All in all, the improved app will make future upgrades easier. The new Android version has already hit the Google Play store and is available to you now. iOS users will have access as soon as the app clears the Apple approval queue.

As we enter into another great summer weekend in the Northern Hemisphere, we hope you’re enjoying watching the last few stages of pro racing and the Tour de France. No doubt you’ve found your own mode of staying tuned in to the action with all of the excellent coverage out there. Apart from being continually impressed with how much power the pros push, we’re in awe of some of the climbs this week – particularly the Lacets de Montvernier leg in the French Alps. Have you seen the aerial view of the switchback route that Road Bike Action shared? Spectacular. It’s easy to understand why there were no spectators allowed on this route!

We’re sure that the Lacets de Montvernier climb has been added to many cycling bucket lists this week. We are fortunate to live adjacent to the Canadian Rockies so thought we’d start sharing some of the most memorable rides in this majestic mountain range. You can’t go wrong with the Icefields Parkway that takes you past fantastic glacier vistas, or the big, challenging climb of Highwood Pass (don’t let the snow in June scare you!).

What are your favourite rides?

S2 at Highwood Pass

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Friday File, July 17, 2015

Some good momentum (you might call it a tail wind!) in the land of PRECISION this week.

A firmware upgrade improving battery life for PRECISION riders has just been released. This over-the-air revision (which can be applied using iOS and Android) is part of our continual upgrade path and is designed to significantly reduce battery drain. Exact results will depend on riding style and conditions. An email blast with complete upgrade instructions has gone out to all customers but if you have any questions, please refer to the online instructions or contact support@4iiii.com

We are also making great progress on addressing the accuracy concerns experienced by some of our customers. Stay tuned; we will keep you posted on those developments as they happen.

The digital PRECISION ship kits are helping to move things into our factory quickly which means that output is increasing rapidly.   The tracker on our site has been adjusted to reflect the left side production to date.

You’ll find other product updates, information and troubleshooting tips in the PRECISION Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. These website posts are intended to give you quick, easy answers – let us know if they’re doing the trick.

That’s it for now.

Wishing you a tail wind – both ways! – on your weekend ride.

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Friday File, July 10, 2015

Today we bring you info on installation efficiencies as well as a tip of our hat to your exceptional efforts!

First off, to speed things up, PRECISION installation ship kits have now gone digital.  Once it’s your turn in the queue, we will send you the placement measurement and shipping instructions via email vs. post.  Eliminating this extra shipping leg from the process will shorten the time it takes to get your crank into the 4iiii factory and keep a more consistent manufacturing queue.  The new method will still give you all of the information you need to ensure the appropriate clearance for your PRECISION pod. Those of you with bike/crank combinations that are a bit trickier fitment-wise, such as those with a Trek Madone or any bike with a bottom bracket-mounted brake calliper, can still request a physical ship kit with a dummy pod. Placement of your power meter is key so we want you to have both options.   One more thing on installation processes, as per your requests, we’re transitioning to a new crank identification system -manufacturing-approved stickers labelled with all of your unique information.

We are also seriously impressed and inspired by all of our PRECISION customers who are committed to some major events this season.  Here are a few that you’ve told us about thus far: Ironman – Coeur D’Alene; Ironman -Deauville; Triathlon – Minneapolis; Lincoln Grand Prix – UK; Tour de Berlin – Germany; The Arctic Race – Norway; Ironman World Championships – Kona, Hawaii.

We respect that these races definitely push your personal limits, requiring extremely focused training, early mornings, hard intervals (that no one wants to ride with you!), three hour marathon trainer sessions before you work and/or sleep, adjusting training for your various seasons, etc., etc., etc.  To everything that you’ve already put into getting where you are, and to everywhere your ride is going to take you, we salute you!

Here’s a good ‘ol western tip of the hat from Greg, our Director of SW Engineering.  It’s one of our favourite times of year, Stampede in Calgary. Ten days of all things wild and western. Yahoooo!

Cowboy Greg_lo_yahoo

 

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Friday File, July 3, 2015

No new product is without its hiccups and PRECISION is no different. Our customers have been providing us invaluable information (critiques as well as applause) that makes our product better…makes us better.   It is our intention to honour the excitement, respect the frustrations and take appropriate steps to address all of our customers’ concerns.

As you know, we’ve been addressing two issues since our product launch: battery longevity and accuracy. Neither of these affects all of our customers, but as they impact our overall standard and your expectations, we are intently working on an upgrade. This will transition directly into all product phases including right, carbon, self-install and other iterations.

Regrettably, we have just had to announce an additional delay with our right side PRECISION. All current right side customers have already received direct communications from us. We had been moving forward with confidence that we were going to meet our spec but latest testing revealed results below our requirements and forced a late re-evaluation. The reality of tech IP is that we can’t always provide thorough product development details but our intention has always been – and still is – to deliver a stellar right side solution. We have learned our lesson about issuing overly optimistic install schedules so will not give a new release date at this time. As soon as we do meet spec, however, our manufacturing efficiencies will make for quick factory installations.

Tis another warm week in Alberta. For those of you north of the 49th, Happy Canada Day! And to you south of the border, enjoy a great 4th of July!

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